Barbie Bates

Barbie has extensive experience in the early childhood sector, beginning as a paediatric occupational therapist at primary and secondary health and not for profit community sites for children up to 12 years.

This includes those with a developmental delay, disability or challenging behaviour and their families, in urban, remote, aboriginal and multicultural communities, managing early intervention multi-disciplinary teams for children under school age. As the manager of a regional funding body, she supported children with additional needs in close to 100 preschools and oversaw the development of early literacy resources for mainstream, Aboriginal and multicultural families. The founding Executive Director, Barbie has grown Paint the Town REaD into a national movement that builds the early literacy capacities of children under school age, now operational in 6 States and over 80 communities.

“My vision for the future of early childhood education in Australia is for it to evolve into a strength-based, collaborative system, built to best-support children, their families and community. I believe we can build a system that not only gives every child the best possible start in life, but also sets them up to thrive once they enter the formal school setting, and beyond throughout life.”